Where the Okavango Delta provides a gateway on its Southern tip, is a mokoro station built to transport you to a little paradise in the wilderness. We were set to use mekoros (dugout canoes) as mode of transport to our camp site on Ditshiping Island, it wasn’t my first mokoro ride but definitely the most extensive one through the river channels, as you can imagine this was an on edge experience. On each mokoro were three people, two guests and a poler to steadily pole through the water avoiding head on papyrus and water reeds. Since I had a camera with me, Tebby (our safari guide) insisted I sit in front and he takes the back seat. I was okay with this as it gave me a front row seat of our transit in the waters of the Delta, our poler, Dj agreed.
Upon boarding the mokoro we were told our ride would take at least 1 hour 30 minutes, this, I thought was exciting: what a way to embrace nature and start a safari! So then we began, making our way across, and the first 200 meters were okay I thought, open water, enough space to see something coming if need be, but I was curious as to how the said river channels looked like. Well not long after open water we started taking turns in very narrow channels, where all I saw was the water and mokoro ahead…to my right and left were tall reeds and papyrus. This, I told myself was the exact escape I needed for a tranquil environment. With my camera handy I took amazing shots while on the voyage; that captured the serenity of the Delta. The echoes of different birds kept me calm and were the basic tune for tranquillity, I must admit.
So as we made our way through this maze of river channels I just kept asking DJ “are we there yet?” to which he always replied “sit back, relax and enjoy the water, take in the beauty”, what a kind reminder it was; for me to absorb all the aspects of the journey. After about an hour into these waters full of life we passed by a shallow hippo pool, where a group of 6 hippos were enjoying the aquatic cool. Was I thrilled to see them yes, however knowing fully well we had quite a distance to go, I was curious and wondered what else we would see. Looking ahead, guests in the mokoro in front of ours were lying in the mokoro soaking up the Sun and taking pictures…utter relaxation I tell you. I also appreciated the skill of poling at a whole new level as one has to steer the mokoro using just one long pole while balancing the mokoro with his/her feet simultaneously. As a passenger I could almost feel the sway of the mokoro as it moved steadily.
Finally I saw the three groups ahead of us take a turn to the right and offload their hand luggage, and I knew the transit was over. I not only enjoyed the tranquillity and ambiance but the ride itself resonated as an art for the polers.
Only on a mokoro ride can you become one with the aquatic vegetation and wildlife and can you fully embrace the epitome of scenic beauty and tranquillity! I suggest it’s a must for a travellers’ bucket list!